An Archaeological Survey of the Buttes Reservoir, Vol. 1


This report presents the analysis of the cultural remains recorded during the archaeological survey of the Buttes Reservoir area; it also contains a statement of the assessed impact of the proposed Buttes Reservoir on the cultural resources and their related environment. The Buttes Reservoir represents one phase of the Bureau of Reclamation's Central Arizona Project which would impound water from the Colorado River and distribute it to central and southern Arizona. The proposed reservoir, located on the Gila River approximately 18 km east of Florence, Arizona, is expected to disturb about 20,000 acres through flooding and development.

Between 1920 and 1966, a few studies had been undertaken which indicated that the proposed dam and reservoir would affect a number of important cultural resources. Consequently, the Bureau of Reclamation contracted with the Arizona State Museum to undertake an intensive survey of the cultural resources within the project boundaries. The study consisted of three major phases. Phase I consisted of the survey of the southern side of the Gila River and a portion of the railroad relocation zone. During Phase II, the northern side of the river was studied as well as 13.2 km of railroad relocation and the area slated for the canal right-of-way. Phase III resulted in the completion of this report.

The cultural resources have been analyzed within a cultural-ecological framework, emphasizing environmental adaptation. The archaeological data have been organized according to parameters relevant to the study of settlement-subsistence systems. The concept of "mini-max strategy" has been used to explain site location and the relations that may have obtained between various types of sites. The logistics of field work have been included, as well as a summary of environmental considerations and a review of the culture history of southern Arizona, which also includes mention of the major deficiencies in the present historical knowledge. The discussion of the significance of the area --historical and scientific, social and monetary -- includes an evaluation of the potential of the resources to contribute valuable information to the present body of historical data. The historical and scientific significance of the area has been assessed in terms of general anthropological theory, chronology, and methodology. The relevance of the cultural resources to other disciplines has also been made explicit. Additionally, the study of significance includes a summary of unavoidable adverse effects of the projected dam on the cultural resources and makes recommendations to reduce the loss of archaeological manifestations in the area.

Cite this Record

An Archaeological Survey of the Buttes Reservoir, Vol. 1. Sharon S. Debowski, Anique George, Richard Goddard, Deborah Mullon. 1976 ( tDAR id: 427911) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8427911

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Archaic Cochise Historic Hohokam Salado

Ceramic Chipped Stone Ground Stone

Site Name
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Site Type
Agricultural or Herding Archaeological Feature Domestic Structure or Architectural Complex Domestic Structures Hearth Mine Pit House / Earth Lodge Resource Extraction / Production / Transportation Structure or Features Road, Trail, and Related Structures or Features Rock Alignment Rock piles Rock Shelter Water Control Feature

Spatial Coverage

min long: -111.218; min lat: 33.031 ; max long: -110.857; max lat: 33.161 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager

Contributor(s): James E. Ayres; Mark Grady; Timothy Kearns; Anne Rieger

Project Director(s): Sharon S. Debowski

Prepared By(s): Cultural Resource Management Section, Arizona State Museum

Submitted To(s): Interagency Archeological Services, National Park Service

Record Identifiers

Archaeological Series (s): 93

SRP Library Barcode No.(s): 00030438

Contract No.(s): CX 800050012

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
1976_DebowskiGeorgeGoddardMullon_AnArchaeologicalVol1_OCR.pdf 135.46mb Jan 30, 1976 Mar 24, 2017 11:53:19 AM Confidential
This file is unredacted.

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Contact(s): Salt River Project Cultural Resource Manager